Sometimes mothers have trouble breastfeeding, so they turn to herbal remedies to help increase their milk supply. If you feel like you need some assistance to help you boost your milk production, there is a wide range of plants that are known to help support breastfeeding.
But, before you start adding these specific herbs to your personal repository, it’s always a good idea to determine the underlying cause of your low milk production.
What Causes Low Breast Milk Supply?
When you notice a decline in your breastmilk, it may be attributed to these following reasons:
- Starting your period
- Dealing with stress in your life
- Beginning hormonal birth control
If your breast milk production seems to be low during this time, it’s never a bad idea to talk to your doctor or a lactation professional to see if adding herbs to your daily diet would be beneficial for you.
Specific herbs serve different purposes and some of them might have side effects, which is why you should always consult a lactation consultant or your doctor to determine the herbs that will work best and how much to take.
Herbal Remedies to Increase Breast Milk Production
From ginger to alfalfa, there are plenty of herbs that can help improve your lactating woes. Here are the best herbs to use for breast milk production:
Blessed thistle belongs to the Asteraceae family, which belongs to the same family as the milk thistle plant. It’s derivative from the Mediterranean region of Portugal and France, and it’s usually one of the prime ingredients in supplements and teas for nursing mothers. When combined with Fenugreek, it has the ability to increase milk production as well.
This herb is the most common herb that lactating mothers use to help increase breast milk supply. Fenugreek is used in herbal teas and gives it a distinct taste with a maple syrup aroma. When used in moderation, this herb is considered safe, however, it can cause you to sweat and alter your breast milk and your baby’s urine to smell like maple syrup.
Being high in iron and full of essential vitamins and minerals, stinging nettle is a nutritious herb that can be taken after childbirth to treat anemia, alleviate fatigue and increase breast milk production.
The medicinal uses of fennel date all the way back to Ancient Egypt. This herb has a licorice flavor and can treat a variety of ailments including digestive issues, menstrual problems and help increase milk in lactating mothers.
This funny sounding herb belongs to the same family as the Fenugreek plant. In dried form, goat’s rue contains properties that can help build breast tissue and increase more breast milk in mothers. However, fresh goat’s rue is toxic and should never be used or consumed.
Alfalfa is one of the oldest and most cultivated crops in history. This nutritious herb is rich in antioxidants, high in protein and fiber and low in saturated fats. Alfalfa has been used as the main source of food for cows because it is said to help increase milk production. Mothers can use this herb too as long as it is consumed properly.
This herb has been used as a spice to add a kick to a variety of cuisines all around the world. Garlic also has many health benefits, and an increase in breast milk production is one of them. As a word of caution, adding garlic to your breastfeeding diet can change the taste of your breast milk, so your little one might or might not like the taste of garlic.
Considered to be blessed thistle’s more popular cousin, milk thistle or St. Mary’s thistle has been associated with breastfeeding for centuries. Folklore believes that the white veins of this plant represent breast milk, so legend has it that if you use milk thistle, your milk supply will increase.
Ginger seems to be a remedy for almost everything. Who would’ve thought it could actually help lactating mothers as well. Ginger has the ability to increase breast milk production. Fresh ginger is a very effective addition to your diet and is safe for mothers and their children when consumed properly.
Even though this really isn’t an herb, brewer’s yeast is an organic compound that is used to make bread and beer. It’s also used as a healthy nutritional supplement to help promote energy and prevent postnatal depression. Aside from that, it is also believed to help increase the supply of breast milk.
Spirulina is a microalgae that has been consumed for centuries due to its health benefits. Packed with essential nutrients like antioxidants, proteins and healthy fats, this plant-based protein can help improve the quality of breast milk.
The leaves of raspberries have a long list of health benefits, but it has been especially known to help fight postnatal depression, help the uterus return back to pre-pregnancy size and help increase breast milk supply in lactating mothers.
Shatavari has been used in Ayurvedic practices for a number of reasons, but it is mostly used to help a woman’s reproductive organs and as a tonic to help increase breast milk production in nursing mothers.
Tips for Breastfeeding
Although the mentioned herbs are known as galactagogues to help increase a mother’s milk supply, some mothers new to breastfeeding might face challenges adjusting to this new task.
But don’t worry, here are a couple of quick tips to help you stimulate and increase your supply of breast milk:
- Breastfeed more frequently
- Nurse for longer periods of time during each feeding
- Pump between or after each feeding
- Drink a lot of water and nursing teas
- Try not to scrub or scratch your nipples
- Relieve stress
- Practice patience
Word of Caution
Herbs have been used as medicine for centuries. And just like prescriptions, herbs and plants can have side effects too. For this reason, it is always best to have a long talk with your doctor or pediatrician before consuming any herbal treatments.
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